So, it’s almost a year since I decided I really needed to make a bit of space in my life for some regular singing and started looking for a local choir to join. At the same time, one of the Mums from my daughter’s school was starting up a choir, based in the school hall. I picked up a flyer at the school Christmas fare, stuck it on the fridge and thought, “I might give that one a go”.
I rolled up to the first rehearsal in the school hall, along with over 100 others (those flyers were clearly effective!). To be honest, at first I thought it wasn’t really my thing. We were sorted into colours rather than traditional voice parts (I’m a soprano, don’t you know!) and my choral repertoire is songs from down the centuries, rather than the decades. But Kari’s enthusiasm is infectious and she very quickly developed a community of singers who clearly enjoyed themselves and were encouraging and supportive of one another.
What I love most about being a Liberty Singer, is how very open and inclusive it is. The group is a combination of those of us who have sung a bit in the past and are returning to regular music-making, those who sing regularly in other groups and are adding another singing opportunity to already busy schedules and those who haven’t sung in choir before and who never thought they could sing. It is a group that is open to all and the enjoyment is palpable.
Through singing in a small group Kari hosts in her home (The Magnificent Seven, aka the Reluctant Liberty Singers) plus singing lessons, where I have benefited considerably from Kari’s particular brand of ‘vocal coaxing’, my confidence as a performer has grown and I have dusted down some hidden ambition and sung a couple of solo slots recently. Stepping out of the group to perform solo is very exposing, doing that for the first time at a Liberty Singers gig was possibly the most supportive environment in which to take the plunge.
This has been an awesome singing year. I have sung songs I never dreamed I would hear my voice singing and been surprised by how much I have enjoyed it (Mr Brightside, anyone?). I have, quite literally, plumbed new vocal depths and found my inner alto (but I am not leaving the Reds!). Most importantly, I have made new friends, had loads of laughs and benefitted from turning the noise off for a couple of hours every other Monday (and Wednesday) and just singing.
I used to describe myself as someone who sings a bit. Now I am proud to say I am a singer. A Liberty Singer.